Monday 8 June 2020

Rencong (Indonesia, 1976)

The rencong is a type of knife that originated in Aceh, Indoneisa and is now most commonly used in silat (a martial art) or as part of ceremonial outfits. The Wikipedia link has some instructions on appropriate technique, which suggest you wouldn’t want to be on the wrong end of one of these.

The distinctive shape of the rencong is connected to the Basmala, the Islamic phrase used in many readings of the Qu’ran and prayer ceremonies. Basmala is based on the phrase meaning “In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful”.

The word Bismillah features in Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, which led the Iranian authorities to allow the release of a Queen album in 2004. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is not where I expected an internet rabbit hole about a ceremonial knife to take me…

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